Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Movie Review

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In February 2018, Marvel Studios released Black Panther. It was the first superhero film with a majority black cast.

Then this Marvel movie kickstarted a cultural phenomenon that culminated in the film being the first superhero film nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, where it earned three of its seven nominations. Chadwick Boseman played the main character, first introduced in 2016 Captain America: Civil War. He would go on to play the character again in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgameand posthumously voiced the character on the Disney+ show, What if…? died of colon cancer in mid-2020. Boseman’s passing left this film’s creative team with the unenviable task of continuing the stories of these characters and expanding on the world they inhabit, all without its lead star.

In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett)shuri (Letitia Wright)M’Baku (Duke Winston)Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers following the death of King T’Challa. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must unite with old and new Nakia allies. (Lupita Nyong’o), Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) to forge a new path for their beloved kingdom. Especially when attacked by the hidden undersea nation of T?loc?n led by its king, Namor (Tenoch Huerta).

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Set a year after King T’Challa passed away from an incurable disease, director Ryan Coogler and his team have crafted a mature and moving story that both pays homage to Boseman and his character, while continuing the Wakanda history. The film balances respecting its legacy with expanding the world of characters, knowing when to slow down for more impactful emotional moments, and speeding up through more expansive action settings. Letitia Wright takes on the job of directing the film, delivering a painfully powerful performance as Shuri comes of age. She is wracked with guilt for not being able to synthesize an artificial heart-shaped herb to cure her brother. As well as having a deep resentment towards his deceased cousin Killmonger who destroyed the herb. Her central emotional struggle drives the film as she is driven by her anger and grief.

Like the first film, it features a rich ensemble and is a visual feast of gorgeous Afrofuturistic fusion.

This chapter focuses on grief, loss, legacy, closure, and hope. An obvious bit of cinematic cathartics for those involved as they mourned their friend, and also channeled it into the loss of the characters. It’s a more than fitting homage and an emotionally beautiful film, which this reviewer thinks is better than the first and ranks among the best in the MCU. Like the first film, it features a rich ensemble and is a visual feast of gorgeous Afrofuturistic fusion. Newcomers Dominique Thorne and Tenoch Huerta are wonderful additions to the strong ensemble, with Angela Bassett delivering an imposing turn as Queen Ramonda. Her character must lead her nation, while mourning the losses she has suffered.

Coogler delivered a powerful homage to Chadwick Boseman and an exciting, fresh, and mature entry into the MCU. One that continues to build on the themes of colonialism and isolationist politics from the first film. With improved visual effects, bigger backdrops and higher stakes, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is one of the best movies to come out of the MCU.

Is death the end?

Halfway through the film, Queen Ramonda reminds Shuri that in Wakanda, death is not the end, for those who die on the Ancestral Plain. Shuri is far from convinced, stating that it’s all superstition and she can only rely on science. This begs the question for the public, is there anything after death?

For Christians, the Bible teaches that death is not the end for those who believe in Jesus. This reality comforted many early church members who were persecuted and killed for their faith. Many of their co-religionists took comfort in knowing that they would one day see their friends and family again, living in the New Creation, enjoying eternal life together. For Christians, there is hope after death. Do you share this hope?

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us cast away all that hinders and the sin that so easily becomes entangled.


Article provided to 96five with thanks to City Bible Forum.

Featured Image: Movie Stills

About the Author: Michael Walsh is a Sydney Missionary Minister and film buff. His love of cinema is surpassed only by his love of God and his desire to share the Gospel.

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